Saturday, 23 February 2019

Chart Topping Teachers

I have broken my toe !

Does it hurt ?

Yep but I don't have time for that stuff !

The problem is a busted toe makes dancing a bit hard.

Horrible picture aint it !

I thought I would indulge myself with a bit of music - FOOT TAPPER by The Shadows.

This is URSUS - Ursus the bear and the badge of the secondary school I attended as a teenager - Boldmere High School for Boys in The Royal Borough of Sutton Coldfield.

If you look carefully at the arrogant young sod in the picture below you can see Ursus and the school badge on my blazer pocket.

I have recently joined a Facebook group for my old school and have been having a lot of fun delving back into my schoolboy memories, all inspired by that facebook group.

I am writing today's blog page specifically for members of that Boldmere Facebook Group but also, a bit sneaky like for my own former students.  I am calling this edition CHART TOPPING TEACHERS.

The Headmaster at Boldmere was Mr W A Simson or WAS.

WAS ran the school with a rod of iron, no - make that a rod of bamboo !

It was a time when lads like us wore tight fitting trousers, some people called them "drainpipe trousers". These days my wife will insist on buying
me "skinny jeans", I think I must be only OAP who wears skinny jeans. WAS used to wear trousers with enormous bottoms. We would  say that you could hear him coming along the corridor with the SWISH-SWISH of his trousers. 

So what should I play in the CHART TOPPING TEACHERS for Mr William Arthur Simson - WAS ?

It has to be this doesn't it !

We boys used to write using blue ink in a fountain pen, the Biro or ballpoint pen was banned at Boldmere.  Teachers would write in red ink when correcting our work. WAS always wrote using green ink.

There was a marking code devised by WAS within which a teacher could write PSM. 

PSM = Please See Me but we lads all knew it meant PLEASE SLIPPER ME.

I think WAS invented flare trousers. Here I am wearing mine at a music event last year. With me is one of my former students Rachel who is looking astonished at my bra. I hasten to explain it was a music event to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Now let me play this and ask former pupils at Boldmere who they think this should be dedicated to...

Mr D C Wild - Derek Colin Wild - WILD BY NAME AND WILD BY NATURE - deputy headmaster. Mr Wild taught me
English and Music. He was inspirational and responsible for my life-long love of music. It was his English classes that inspired me to write and gave birth to my persona Max Robinson, the author.

I did not like school, at times I hated it. One thing is certain, I could not wait to leave.

This was the most important piece of music during my career at Boldmere High School For Boys.

It was sung at the leavers assembly in July 1967. I walked out of the school, made a very rude gesture and began my life in the adult world.  I joined a management training scheme at Lewis's Department Store in Birmingham, the story of which is told in my TEENAGE AUTOBIOGRAPHY.

Who remembers Mrs Steel ?  Granny Steel ? Until Mrs Perkins came along to teach English Granny Steel was the only woman teacher at Boldmere. Granny this is for you.....

Can't wait for Christmas so I can play that on the radio for Mrs Steele.

Am I wearing flares in this picture ?  Can't quite see. I tell you I would have been happy to have had Granny Steel in my team when I was a Head of Year at Leon.

I would not under any circumstances have given  a job to the guy who taught art when I first joined Boldmere but I would welcome Mr Pugh who taught art in the fifth form, even if I did fail O Level.  This is for Mr Pugh.

Not sung here by Mick and his friends but a group by the name of COILBACK featuring Steve, one of my former
students.  Still in contact with Steve, I hope you liked that. I often play it on the radio.

Boldmere lads will be wondering why with the lead picture of my toe I have not yet spoken about Mr Torode. OK, let's play this for him.

Mr Torode taught French. He was a young man, mid twenties I guess. He had one of his toes amputated, he said it was
because he had worn winkle picker shoes.

The weird thing about Mr Torode was the fact that his amputated toe was preserved in a jar which he used to keep on his desk and take delight in passing it round the class for we boys to admire !

Who remembers Mr Tuckley ?  Tiny Tim Tuckley and his two catch phrases:  PACKING UP TIME and I'LL MELT YOU DOWN BOY !

Those who do will understand why this has to be his chart topping teacher theme...

In the mid 1970's I helped a friend put on a music event with Billy J Kramer.  If anyone is interested there is a special vinyl disc of his in our WEBSITE SHOP.

I don't think we lads ever knew the christian name of our metalwork teacher, we all knew him as JIM Reeves !

The very first words spoken to me at Boldmere High School For Boys were YOU ARE LATE BOY !  I mumbled something about the 'bus being late. That was my introduction to the school spoken by Mr Wallbank, perhaps the most disliked teacher in the school.

This is for him.

At Boldmere there were three school rules:
  • You will work
  • You will use common sense
  • You will be courteous

At Leon I adapted these to what I called THE THREE C's
  • You will use common sense
  • You will be courteous
  • You will Co-operate

I dropped the work bit from Was's school rules. Didn't have time for work when I was Head of Year - we were too busy having fun.

Yep, that's me above - the crazy head of year so many of you had to put up with.

Who remembers when this lot descended on Leon School ?

It was part of a Jim'll Fix It programme. Only the headmaster and I knew what was happening, he hid away leaving me to manage the unruly boy band. They were to kidnap a girl from class, whisk her away in a helicopter to a recording of Jim'll Fix It.  PROBLEM !  Weather conditions meant the helicopter could not land on the school field. While the producer and I frantically tried to hire a stretched limo the Boyz were a pain
and just would not keep quiet.  Word got round the school: Have you seen who Ashford has got in his office ?

WAS had an expression where he would say he promoted a boy to become a sergeant. He meant he gave the unfortunate wretch three strokes of the cane.  That day I came so close to promoting all band members to the rank of sergeant.

I am mega proud to be in contact with so many, many of my former students.  tell me you LEONITES which song would you select as my Chart Topping Teacher Theme ?

At twenty-seven years of age Josh aka The Eternal Teenager is too young to have been a LEONITE - anyway he went to Sir Frank Markham School.

Working with me over the past year and now starting to co-present two radio shows with me each week, Josh is a bit of a prude and far too conservative. He thinks and says I am a NUTTER. Perhaps he would think this should be my theme tune.

Josh, do not think for a single moment that a busted toe is going to stop me dancing round the studio when we broadcast tomorrow.

I like to slip a bit of punk rock into the show but have not yet found the courage to play The Sex Pistols. I told you Josh was a prude, he disowned me when I played him, IN PRIVATE, Friggin In The Riggin.

I wonder what WAS and all the other teachers at Boldmere High School For Boys would have made of that.

Don't know about Sergeant, WAS would have promoted those concerned to SERGEANT MAJOR !

This is something I have played on the radio a few times in recent weeks.

Here I am dancing to the music at a disco in a sheltered housing community.

Many of the residents remembered the years of World War Two - they were there. I do not - I was not there. Mine is the first generation for a long while not to have gone to school simply as preparation for joining the army, navy or air force to serve our country with many giving their young lives.

Something I will never forgive Boldmere High School For
Boys for, something I will never forgive WAS for was the fact that we boys were NEVER told anything about the ROLL OF HONOUR which was on the wall at the front of the assembly hall. We lads used to wonder why the names ended at 1945, we thought the school had simply stopped handing out awards/prizes in that year. Lest we forget, Boldmere never even remembered.

This is in the playlist for tomorrow's radio show.

Going through the playlist yesterday Josh said: I really like that.

I then explained it was something from my Granddad's era.

I won't tell you what he said, something that would not be out of place in a Sex Pistols track !

I left school in 1967, DISCO is something from the 1970's, it certainly was not from my Graddad's day - he was born in 1910 BUT no matter what your age, no matter when you were born or went to school - no matter if you have a busted toe or not LIFE IS A DISCO SO DANCE....

LEONITES I hope you think that should be my Chart Topping Teacher Theme.

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